Should the LNAB be the baptism record or the signature? [closed]

+12 votes

I was under the impression that WikiTree policy is to generally take the earliest spelling of the LNAB as that from the earliest record that can be found in that person's specific life. In many cases it will be the baptism record, and if not available marriage records. At times also signatures, but never when the others are available.

What should the spelling for this profile of the famous Jeremias van Renselaer - be? See the comment boxes: his LNAB has been correctly transcribed (there is also an image thereof) as spelled with 1 "s" ... though there seems to be an issue with his signature that looks as if has 2 "s"'s ...

If the policy is now that we take whatever fits us best and let go of the standard, I fear that we are in for a lot more discussion.

WikiTree profile: Jeremias van Rensselaer
closed with the note: Closed - agreement about naming convention
in Policy and Style by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
closed by Bea Wijma
Totally agree!

Thanks Philip, Carrie, Joop and everyone who pitched in here to try and help, I'm really happy we could finally could come to an agreement here, and that it is now clear for everyone, so I'm fine with closing this feed (if Carrie is ok with it all as well of course) 

And for Jeremias, the first New Netherland Record, even though it is not asked or needed to compare, but nothing wrong with comparing a few and some other info as well of course, it is also showing the same spelling of the name, so based on two church records I think it's pretty safe and accurate and we can all agree his Birth name really was van Renselaer. 

The earliest spelling was pretty consistent in the following order... everyone can check the Gelderland archive and the Amsterdam archive for it also: van Renseler, van Renslaer, van Renselaer, van Rensselaer,  Van Rensselaer (and of course they were all recorded on different events with different spellings). 

Killiaen van Rensselaer ones was by someone (also in one of the baptisms of his children) named Guilliaem Renselaer or something and he was making quite a fuss about it, and said (transcribed) I'm not Gilliaen Renselaer but Killiaen van Rensselaer, of course I wondered if it was because of the last name also, but discovered it most likely was only because of the wrong (French form) of his first name and perhaps the missing van in the last name, because his last name is still written after this in different ways, van Renselaer, van Rensselaer, etc.

 Why was he making such a fuss about his first name ? It could show us the importance and fuss they made about making sure the (correct, original) names of their ancestors were passed on to the next generations. He was named after his grandfather Kil(le) Jansz, but not only that, the first name Killiaen was in fact a multiple generation patronymic like first name and leads to not only his grandfather Kil(le) Jansz but also this great-grandfather Jan (maybe Johan)) 

 (Van Rensselaer Bowier manuscripts, here (right page= about the family grave for the twin brother Johan and Henrick the last name and more old family names are mentioned (old spellings) Killiaen van Renselaer is mentioned as well) and on page 579 the Guilliaen name fuss it also looks like they didn't always wrote things themselves but others (secretary/clerks) were, so I don't know and it made me wonder, is it possible these clerks were also allowed to sign letters or deeds and stuff in their name or on their behalf ? 

This discussion (and the related discussions on the profile) emerged during a period when I was traveling and had limited time for WikiTree, so I didn't participate at first. After that, the toxicity that I saw developing here caused me to hesitate to get involved. Now that peace finally seems to be returning, I do have a few things to say.

I suggest that we all need to go outdoors for a few minutes (it's wonderful summer in the northern hemisphere where most of us live!) and breathe some fresh air, then remind ourselves of some important principles:

  • The LNAB is not the be-all and end-all of genealogy.
  • The naming conventions of the New Netherland Settlers and Dutch Roots projects were created to help bring order out of chaos, not to create new chaos by fostering animosity among friends. (We are friends, aren't we?)

Some of our ancestors were rigidly doctrinaire in their religious practise, but let's not emulate them by treating WikiTree policies and project policies like scripture whose interpretation is sufficient cause to tear a community apart. Let's not forget that the purpose of a name (including an LNAB) is to identify a person. Because our ancestors often used multiple names in their lives, and multiple spellings of those names, and there will always be different opinions on the interpretation of old handwriting, to properly identify each person most of these people's profiles need to display multiple last names, of which the LNAB is only one. The WikiTree LNAB should be our reasonable best estimate of the person's last name at birth, not something to attack our colleagues about.

Now about the van Rensselaer family:

I agree with Carrie in seeing this family as having unique importance in New Netherland. Regardless of who they were in the Netherlands, in New Netherland this was a powerful family that became [in essence] feudal overlords over a large region -- and they firmly stamped the Rensselaer name on that region. The name "van Rensselaer" may have started out as an affectation, but it was most definitely the name they used for themselves. Who are we to say that they spelled it wrong?

I giggled at the suggestion that the spelling of this name was an anglicized spelling created by English people in New Netherland:

  • Firstly, the van Rensselaers were established in New Netherland when it was still firmly under Dutch control (well before the English took over). In that era (and in some parts of New Netherland, this continued for decades after the English took control) it was English names that got severely altered by Dutch clerks (not the other way around).
  • Secondly, the van Rensselaers were literate and keepers of records who were in control of significant elements of the colony, so (unlike most settlers) they controlled the rendering of their family name.
  • And finally, "Rensselaer" is most definitely not an English spelling. English-speaking Americans have serious difficulty spelling and pronouncing this name -- and the double S is one of the elements that makes it particularly hard for Americans to spell. Please don't accuse Americans of creating this name -- it's the name and the spelling that were imposed on our country by this family. (Regarding pronunciation, the New York branch of my family -- who still lived in the region of the state that once was controlled by the Rensselaer family -- always called it "RENS-ler," but the university that was founded by a Rensselaer family member is universally called "ren-suh-LEER".)
We already were all outside Ellen and had already come to an agreement see above and the last message of Carrie ;) And the G2G was going to be closed when Carrie had responded I think ?

van Rensselaer -van Renselaer. No one is saying or suggesting they did not use the last name van Rensselaer I think ? We all know they did, but the question was: Should the LNAB be the (one as recorded in) the Baptism record or the signature ?

And yes I agree we all are friends and we of course don't want to be rigid and especially not rude or hurt the feelings of any of our so dear friends, as Carrie says we all are cousins eeh ! We all have been and still are spending soo many time together on making sure this part of our  WikiTree is going to be accurate and without all those aweful it's really important we all keep doing that as friends. There's already enough war going on the world and this indeed isn't worth it.

But unfortunately, we have to also keep in mind and remind ourselves, that If we are not clear or consistent ourselves and are going to use one time this and one time that to determine a LNAB or current one, other members will also notice and are perhaps going to do the same.

Very likely the next problem then will be, members noticing our inconsistency in how we are working (not according our own Project guidelines), now perhaps are not going to use correct LNAB or current ones for their deeper (Dutch) ancestors, even if it's clear and according all sources they were born and died with only patronymics, they perhaps now will decide to just import or create them all with for example the modern and backwards projected version VandenBerg for LNAB. Who's going to tell them they should work according the project guidelines if we are not working according them ourselves all the time ?

So this is really not about being rigid or to create problems it's important we keep things as clear and easy as possible for everyone and make sure we all know what guidelines are used so we all are working the same way .

Hope you had a wonderful time Ellen ? And thanks for your response !

Thanks Bea for summarizing (indeed - it is such lovely weather and life is especially beautiful in summer; for me personally I'm very happy and living a full life ...:-).

Would someone (a leader) now please edit the LNAB of Jeremias van Renselaer into one with a single "s", and put the version of his signature in the current name field, and aka (perhaps if known) other variants? Because that still has not happened even though the baptism image is as Bea stated obvious, as with those of his siblings.

Thanks everyone for the time and energy for input and discussion.

Holy cow.

Bea you suggested the thread could be closed if I was okay with it. I had not replied. It is not too late for Ellen's input. She's a project coordinator for the New Netherland Settlers project.

The van Rensselaer issue wasn't resolved in the proposed method as we didn't have a vote for what actually appears in the images. I was not the only person that saw a double S.

This is just more of what got us to this point. An opinion that Yvette Hoitink, board-certified genealogist in the Netherlands, is incorrect has now been added to the thread. This is a disagreement with an echo chamber.

My new proposal is that Dutch Roots not perform leader actions on the New Netherland Settlers project profiles because collaboration is nearly impossible and toes are getting stepped on. We have to have some boundaries. Y'all are just going to have to trust that the NNS is doing our best with LNABs. As it says in the project FAQ:

Can profiles be covered by multiple projects?

Technically, yes. The profiles covered by projects inevitably overlap. However, one project should have primary responsibility. This is important so that members know who to contact and what tag to use in G2G.

These profiles are extremely important to the New Netherland Settlers project; they are our progenitors and grandfathers and play a significant role in our country's history. In the Dutch Roots project, they are just more Dutch dudes.

I take responsibility for starting this by updating the New Netherland Settlers project Naming Conventions but it was necessary. Only a leader can change a PPP name and much discussion took place over the last seven months, but it seems that the language barrier might be too strong. Additionally, it took a single word to make someone angry today.

A roots project shouldn't really deal with descendants because that's just too many people and culture clashes are bound to happen. Maybe some day we'll all be covered by the African roots project. :)

Oow no no no no, let's please not start this all over again, Carrie you and me were working on trying to come to an agreement and we had one, so let's seperate things for now please, especially not because we had just come to an agreement about your proposal Carrie . And it was this :

 I propose that the New Netherland Settlers project keeps doing what it has been doing for New Netherland Settlers: using the last name as it is first written in church records for LNAB, whether patronymic or family name. As is. Unless there is something obviously horribly wrong with the name that first appears in records. (It happens). If there is a patronymic in addition to the surname (like my Pieter Quackenbosch) that would be added to the first name field.

Then if a baptism record is discovered for a settler born in the Netherlands under a patronymic system, a g2g gets started that both NNS and Dutch Roots can participate in to discuss and explain what the suggested patronymic for a LNAB would be, and see if we can't get everyone to understand and agree before changes are made. This will also help with mistaken identities or disproven records as well.

If that is unacceptable, we should take this to mediation.

We all accepted the proposal and I asked if you could check our convention page to see if it was added clear enough there for everyone as well, that was all. 

This LNAB is a separate thing or discussion and for all LNAB goes, if there's a disagreement about one or a record we can start a G2G for it, so I think it's wiser to start a new G2G for this last name, it really isn't worth it ..

And I think perhaps this fuss about this LNAB is even more reason why Roots Projects are the ones that should deal and take care of the proper LNAB for these deep ancestors, for all of us they are important and we really all understand how you feel about these people and how important they were and that the Rensselaerswijck was named after this family perhaps is the only and real reason why you want to have that as LNAB for them.

But it perhaps also is showing how sometimes genealogy and accuracy and rules or guidelines we always apply for others are no longer applied bend a little or adjusted or changed, if it means or is showing some people actually were born and recorded with a LNAB we don't want them to have ? And isn't this why we agreed to use the Birth or Baptism and perhaps other records to decide what's the most accurate LNAB for a person ? Is a one s LNAB if they were  born with it really making this person less important if using the current one for LNAB in fact is making the profile less accurate ?

Most of our Dutch ancestors were imported with current names, we finally managed to have patronymics and correct versions of last names accepted, and now only because of this one name, we all are all of a sudden no longer able to collaborate as we did before ?

Bea, I found this added to the thread:

I saw your post of ...... hmm can t  find it back so fast ........ that fine female genealogist helping online. She is doing great things. Read some before in time at here site. Most important thing I recall was people adding "Holland" to place of birth ending up in Noord-Brabant or so, as there is a village named Holland,:D Our Country is named The Netherlands. But in former times a part of the Netherlands WAS called Holland (the West Part). 

But saying most of the Dutch had a Last Name is overdone. I think it is the other way around before 1811.

In addition to Ellen being ignored and what Philip is said in the "closing statement", I've come to the conclusion that the only solution of the bigger problem is for the Dutch Roots to not perform leader actions on New Netherland Settler project profiles. Discussion is fine, collaboration is fine, but not physically changing protected parts of the profile. Agreement by force only makes things worse.

The project FAQ says that one project should have primary responsibility. The New Netherland Settlers project should be the lead on the New Netherland settler's profiles.

Of course there are exceptions, like Isaac Allerton for example.

People are mad, Bea. Feelings have been hurt. We have to have boundaries, as talking to the moon and back isn't accomplishing much.

I Quote, 

Thanks Bea for summarizing (indeed - it is such lovely weather and life is especially beautiful in summer; for me personally I'm very happy and living a full life ...:-).

Would someone (a leader) now please edit the LNAB of Jeremias van Renselaer into one with a single "s", and put the version of his signature in the current name field, and aka (perhaps if known) other variants? Because that still has not happened even though the baptism image is as Bea stated obvious, as with those of his siblings.

Thanks everyone for the time and energy for input and discussion.

Philip van der Walt


Do not count on it Philip, the NNS Project with its leader is the boss of this profile and makes her own rules. The fact that the person was born in another country is not important for determining the LNAB, please note the key field in the WikiTree database, and has to be ignored. Also the general agreed rules about the LNAB are not important for NNS owned profiles. NNS decided that!


Just for the record. Early in this thread I tried to contibute with a factual, compact comment, not pointing fingers, not referring to all kinds of examples or conventions previously agreed on. Only to be grossly misquoted by you. That got me angry so I applied DWWA. I did not and will not participate anymore in this thread (or any other) until the time has come things can be discussed in a factual, analytical way, weighing pros and cons of possible solutions in a businesslike  way.


6 Answers

+17 votes
Best answer

I can add a lot of documents that show the name as van Renseler, van Renslaer, van Renselaer but I won't because I don't think we should bicker about the names and we really don't need to. 

What I am missing a bit in all the commotion about the LNAB is something that's also very important about a correct and using the most original version of the last names or patronymics, the earliest versions of the LNAB have in the past and still can lead us to the correct parents or ancestors. 

By using the traditional naming system in the Netherlands (and other Countries) to name their children after the grandparents or family members (ancestors), our Dutch ancestors were making very very sure and quite a fuss about the names of their ancestors to make sure their names were all passed on for many generations other areas like Gelderland and Overijssel the farm,Abbey or area names were added and later used for last name to show in a similar way, they were proud of the place/farm/area they were coming from and made sure it was passed down and showing in their family names also. So if we look at some names and have a farm list we can determine very easy where the person or family originally was from. 

The van Rensselaer name comes from het Renseler goed or the Renseler Abbey or loan, now we're in te luxury position there was done a whole lot of research and many records were added and found already, so it's very clear who their parents were and where they were from originally, but...originally they all started without surnames, they used patronymics, later sometimes they would add van Renseler, probably to show where they were from, which later varied from van Renseler, to van Renslaer, van Renselaer and the latest and perhaps more English version was van Rensselaer.  

So we often will joke and say what's in a name, but for the Dutch and many others, there can be a whole lot in a name, so that's I think one of the most important reasons for making sure the earliest versions are preserved and protected, to make sure they don't get lost ... nowadays many names in online genealogies are modernized or standardized (backwards projection) and if we can make sure they never are lost and preserved here by protecting them, isn't that a more valid reason to make sure the earliest version gets protection and the later version is added to the current name field if the parents are certain ?

by Bea Wijma G2G6 Pilot (282k points)
selected by Philip van der Walt
+8 votes
I have seen the same record with two different spellings from time periods as recent as the 1800s.  Honesty our ancestors were not obsessed with accuracy like we are. Spelling was just not something they cared about.  So I would simply add the alternate spelling in the other last name field and you have notes about it in the bio so you are done.  I would not worry about it.
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (674k points)

Thanks Laura, but this is about WikiTree policy and the protection of profiles and having some form of standard. Which is as I understood per profile (not per name or per generation) the first available proof of that spelling to be taken as the name to be protected - this is for projects in general very important because of the massive amount of duplicates created in the past with variant names.

So it is something to be concerned about ("worry" is not the word I would use here).

If your concern is to protect it via a project then the project members should settle on a recommended spelling and go with it.  You have made a valid argument.  I guess I just don't see a bunch of people going in and changing spelling of profiles with the kind of documentation you have on this.  

The policy is clear and you have documented what you believe is correct.  here is the policy for getting project protection.  If the Project leaders agree you should not have an issue.
Thanks Laura. The profile has already been PPP'd. I myself am also a research coordinator and understand how project protection works.

Thanks for taking the time to read the comments though.
I guess I do not understand what you are trying to do with this posting.  It sounded like you were concerned about the validity of the name and if people would be changing it... that is how I read your post.  Baptismal record spellings are not necessarily correct and if not signed by a parent they become even more suspect.  What is listed seems fine within the scope of pre-1700s naming conventions.  Since we do not see the full document but a snippet I was answering based on my experience with old records including this time period.
The link to the full document is provided both in the text of the bio (footnote) and in the source of "snippet" in the comment box of the photo itself.

My my aim at this posting is to get clarity on the policy of name protection - baptism (if possible) or a signature (which is not the signature of his father but of himself on another document during his adult life time).
+8 votes
The definition of the LNAB in practice seems to be very flexible. Certainly individual projects vary it.

"The Puritan Great Migration (PGM) Project guidelines state a profile's last name at birth field should *always* use the name as spelled in Robert C Anderson's Great Migration Series *unless* a newer source such as a more recent TAG article can be found"  

  We all know that it might be complete serendipity as to how the name is spelled on that first document.  Many of the  wills I have transcribed spell the names totally inconsistently throughout the document. These wills may be the prime and sometimes the only original document available . Even if there is a baptism entry,  the parish clerks in small rural English parishes   may have only been  semi literate themselves . (have evidence of that one from a family member who became PC but could not sign his own name at marriage only a year before )

 There are many families where the  baptismal entries for successive siblings are spelled  differently.

If the person did not change his or her name in their lifetime. I  would have thought using their own  signature is  a better  indication of the spelling of that name (but as you say it isn't LNAB by strict definition and I am far too recent a member to have been involved in original discussions on the matter)
by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (344k points)
edited by Helen Ford
+6 votes

Ok I normally would say the same as Laura ''our ancestors were not obsessed with accuracy like we are. Spelling was just not something they cared about.'' So why should we eeh..

But I think what's upsetting some of our well respected members now is that it's not 'within reason' to what for them perhaps feels like undoing all the work of so many years, so to now see that without a really urgent reason, all the totally correct LNAB are again merged into what in fact are their current last names or patronymics, or the refusal to correct a LNAB in the one from the Baptism or Birth record, especially if there's not a shred of doubt about who the parents of these people were or if the first record actually is the baptism record.

For many years we all have been working together on trying to find and add records for thousands of early New Netherland (Dutch and other) ancestors, first we had to 'struggle' to make people aware those days people were not born with and did not use the last names they were imported with and explain that most of them were born with and used just these patronymics for LNAB during their lives. So it took us all quite some time to also have this accepted as WikiTree Policy and to make sure it was ok to use the names/patronymics from the Baptism/Birth records for LNAB. So I think it's logic that for many of us to no longer use them for the correct LNAB feels like saying ok thanks for all the work thanks..we're now going to use the (often transcribed) and in many cases current last names from the earliest, often transcribed or translated and not original, church records for LNAB and the actual LNAB are going to be removed/changed/merged away again and added to the other last name field...

So if all of a sudden and without a G2G anouncement or something, projects are changing their entire policy about what's accepted for LNAB it's of course and logic going to upset (Project/WikiTree) members that have been working so hard for many years to find and add Birth/Baptism and many other records to correct LNAB and get all those duplicates merged and untangle mixed up families or lineages. 

So I think perhaps it's wise to stop 'bickering' about the last names and instead take a break and before changing Project Policies I really think we should first ask how our Project and WikiTree members feel about this rather drastic policy change for the New Netherland Settlers Project to no longer use the Baptism or Birth Records for their LNAB but the later names, including the ones that were not born in New Netherland, so to change last names or patronymics into ones that for some would in fact be the current last names instead of the last name they were born with,

Just as we all Projects don't own profiles or families either, Projects are a wonderful way to make it possible to share and work together on our deeper ancestors with all WikiTree members, but we need to understand and remind ourselves these deeper ancestors are not just ancestors of people born in the New Netherland or the Netherlands, but probably from people from all over the World by now, so I think it's very important to make sure all WikiTree/Project members agree and feel ok before making this pretty major change of policy ? 

by Bea Wijma G2G6 Pilot (282k points)
This is combining all of the recent issues into one.

When I first started with the New Netherland settlers project in 2014, the LNAB for the settlers were determined in g2g threads and based on sources like family genealogy books.

When I started working on New Netherland Settlers profiles outside of my own ancestors, I added church records and suggested in comments what the last name at birth should be based on those sources.

What I saw happening at that time is profiles were being merged into a tiered set of preferences, like patronymics, then names with spaces, then names with lower cased prepositions, but these name choices weren't based on sources.

But it was my understanding that the names that appeared in church records should be used last name at birth, as they were the closest thing we could possibly get to a first hand record. I started replying to the name threads saying as much.

When I became a leader for the project early in 2016, I rewrote the naming conventions to better explain this.

Nowhere in the past 3 years did I ever see that the New Netherland Settlers project was going to use assumed patronymics for the LNAB, based on baptismal records that didn't have any surname. That just started being applied to New Netherland profiles recently. Edit: Actually I do remember discussing it a bit but it was soon made clear, and decided with another discussion, that this couldn't be done for New Netherland as profiles started changing for the worse, randomly.

This was first noticed when all of the children of Hendrick Rycken (Suydam) were renamed, for unknown reasons. These children were born in New Netherland.

Then the issue became discussion when all (some?) of the children of Jelles Douwes (Fonda) were renamed, for unknown reasons.

Take for example Giertje  The first time she is ever recorded with a surname, in her marriage record, it's Fondaas. But she was renamed to Jelles. I've not ever seen a record of her referred to as Jelles. Couldn't that assumed patronymic be added to the first name field? It can't be proven. If a descendant comes along and declares that her LNAB should be Fonda, how can that be disputed? How can a name be made LNAB if there is no source for it?

The New Netherland Settlers were forced to take surnames in 1687, yet many don't have records before that date. Add to that the fact that New Netherland was a melting pot and only 50% Dutch.

Yes, only the transcriptions for New Netherland baptism records exist in most cases, but it is known to New Netherland researchers who transcribed them and what expertise they had. That is explained clearly on the church records page:

I don't understand why there should have been a g2g announcement. There has been tons of discussion about LNAB by email between you and me and Steven and Ellen. Only leaders can change the last name at birth.

I've worked really hard to ensure that people could find proper sources for these profiles and and

In the end, it is up to the New Netherland Settlers project to track these folks, sort the lines, merge the numerous duplicates, and assist folks in finding their ancestors, the co-founders of America that a good chunk of Americans descend from. Shouldn't it be up to us to determine the best LNAB?

The method in question, the one that is conflict with the way Dutch Roots handles LNAB, is very simple; if a New Netherland settler was baptized without a surname, the first surname (which might be a patronymic) that appears in church records is used for their LNAB. Any assumed patronymics are added to the first name field. That's it.
Thank you Carrie, for adding  some more background to this. I now realise that the original  question was really a statement and not a request for a general discussion about using a signature in preference to a scribe written baptismal or other record.

( I actually think it's a pity, that a best answer has been  selected  so soon after posting . Some people will not yet be out of their beds to see the question.)

Edit  I think we need a changes log. Unless, I'm very not thinking clearly then material within  the starred answer has been swapped out of it and into it.  It really  isn't as it was when I added the comments above.
Thanks for reading it, Helen!

Hi Helen. It was posted as a question. As written before, the decision to protect this specific profile with the spelling of the signature and not the spelling as can be seen on the baptism image, is the issue. And how that relates to the general WikiTree policy on that. In her last comment, Bea explains why the protocol as understood by other projects, is so important.

We all are members and have been working on the same project(s) ;) and we have corrected thousands of names into patronymics based on baptism marriage or other records if there were no Baptism/Birth records available, so this is how we have worked and collaborated together for years now.

Baptism records are primary records and I try to but I have a hard time understanding why you talk or now feel about them as if they are no valid record for a LNAB which stands for the Last Name at Birth, so not the name they used later in life, but the names they were born/baptized with ?

For most of  the examples you show there are Baptism or Birth records added and available, so if they were born with patronymics the LNAB would be a patronymic that's really not so hard to explain to anyone if there's a baptism record that shows the parents didn't use a last name, so if Grietje later adopted the name Fonda she has Fonda for current last name of course.  

But that's all not what this is about, what has caused confusion is that it still said in the project policy, if there was a birth or baptism record that would be used for the LNAB, and only if there wasn't a Baptism or Birth record the normally current or later version of how it was written in the earliest church record and within reason, was going to be used for the LNAB. And yes if there is no Baptism or Birth record and if the parents are unknown or perhaps uncertain, that's perfectly fine, but if there's a baptism or other records that show the names or patronymics and the correct spelling of the name and if the parents are certain it's not 'within reason'  to change names people received at Birth/ Baptism into the names they used later in life.

It's not meant as critic or to make you feel bad Carrie, we all love you and you're really a wonderful leader, it's just that if it seems to be confusing for or upsetting members,perhaps it's better to discuss a pretty major change like this in G2G, to make sure all members are aware and agree with it. For the Dutch Ancestors all I can say is I feel it's important the earliest versions are preserved and protected not to have it my way, but because it's important because they can lead us to the correct ancestors or farms or places/area's where they were coming from. So it's the same reason why you would like to preserve and protect the version they used in the New Netherland if the parents still might be uncertain..
Then perhaps the importance of a patronymic field should be stressed to  the Wikitree team. I have asked several times. A patronymic is neither a surname nor a middle name.

Using the first surname appears in a church record for someone is, in my understanding, acceptable as a last name at birth. It's the first name we know and can prove they used. This also has a lot to do with how these folks appear in sources since research began in the early 19th century. All of the macro sources for the New Netherland folks index these people by the names that they actually appear with in New Netherland records, which is the same thing being done here. If that can be added to, that's great, but it cannot be replaced.

The New Netherland Settlers project is a settler project for a melting pot society. The NNS project has to go by the sources. It cannot be assumed that a person used a patronymic if they were baptized without a surname. I don't even assume a patronymic with my Swedish ancestors, who lived in a nearly pure patronymic society. They chose their surname, which might have been a patronymic, when they were of age.

Then again, the assumed patronymics are not being ignored or rejected, they are being added to the First Name field. There is no reason to worry that the patronymics are not locked like a LNAB is because the profiles have a project profile as a profile manager.

No one should be upset because the policy has been in place for a while and there have been countless discussions about it. Only a leader can change a PPP LNAB.

The real problem appears to be communication because every time this was discussed, I walked away thinking everyone was one the same page. Then suddenly two days ago I'm getting yelled at by folks in other projects because I disagreed with changes made to a profile that belongs to a project that I lead.
The view that a patronym can not be used as a surname is simply wrong. In any case, for persons born in the Netherlands for 1800 and where a part of the population did not have an added surname (instead of family origin, occupation, etc.). Using the father's surname in the system of patronyms is incorrect and the children could not recognize their own last name if they could read it now. For example, father is Jan Kaasz, his son would be called Klaas Klaasz and not Klaas Jansz. That poor Klaas could not find himself back in WikiTree. An exception is when it comes to a period where the father's last name become a family name.

There is also a transition phase in which the (added) family surname is not listed in the Baptismnote but later in the record of Marriage. For example, father is Jan Klaasz de Nooijer, but in the baptismal record he is mentioned as Jan Klaasz. His son is called Klaas and thus apparently gets the surname Jansz. When Klaas Jansz marries, the last name of the Nooijer appears in his note of Marriage, so Klaas Jansz de Nooijer.

The emigrants of that time will not just be stopped using this system. Is the opinion of a project leader within his Project always the right one?

I'm not saying a patronymic can't be used as a surname. It's different though. I'm saying that assumed patronymics as LNAB for New Netherland Settlers profiles is wrong.

"The emigrants of that time will not just be stopped using this system."

In most cases they did stop. With strangers as neighbors, most felt the need to use a surname. That is why NNS uses what appears in records. New Netherland folks were forced to quit using a patronymic system in 1687, but every family was different. That's apparent in church records.

"Is the opinion of a project leader within his Project always the right one?"

Projects shouldn't be deciding LNAB for other projects, especially historically significant ones.

The whole world was a melting pot those days with all the changes in who ruled what part of the world and their different religions and all those people who fled from one part of the world to the next and some even more than once, for religious and many other reasons, the whole world was filled with refugees or immigrants that came and stayed or went to different parts of our world again, our main concern is and I think it should be for all of us, the preservation and protection of the earliest versions of the names or patronymics they were born or baptized with and for the reasons mentioned above.

The LNAB is the last name at Birth, not the current, or worse modern one we see in so many online genealogies and yes we agreed to share the earliest Dutch ancestors, the ones that emigrated to New Netherland with the NNS project, because we all and always have worked together as a team and the same way, so the LNAB for them always was taken or based on the baptism records especially if the parents were certain and correct.

So perhaps for the ones born in the Netherlands and to prevent misunderstandings or project clashes for the ones where the parents are certain and where there are multiple records for their parents and siblings, they can stay as they are now, because most already were corrected earlier and based on the baptism or Birth records, because for us it's just as important as for the New Netherland Settlers Project to have the original names preserved and protected and in it's original form, so maybe we can agree, for the ones where there's not a really and very urgent need, to not change(merge) them all again, if the later version can also and just as well be added to the current name field ?

What's worrying me a bit is if this isn't this going to be a slippery slope where in the end they all are going to end up with just the current or modern names for LNAB again and the earliest forms of the names and patronymics they were born with and the only names they used during their lives in the end all are going to vanish...

And I know and trust you will try your best to make sure this won't happen Carrie, but removing a patronymic from a first name field is something anyone can do, so f it's added there it doesn't have the same protection as when  a patronymic is added to and protected by the LNAB field which is locked.

And we are not a Project or Projects trying to decide LNAB for profiles of 'your' project ,we share a whole bunch of them and the Dutch Roots Project from the start always was added to the earliest ones as manager as well, these ancestors are Historically significant for all of us, not just for the New Netherland Settlers Project of which many of us are members also, if they were born Dutch they are Historically significant and important for our Project as well, so I think we should at least try to think of a way to make or keep everyone happy...and to prevent Projects are going to clash..which is really not needed and ashame since we all haven been collaborating so well for so many years..

There cannot be a slippery slope if the LNAB is sourced from records created in the person's lifetime. Especially if it is the first surname recorded for the person.

The Settlers are the whole point of the project. They are the co-founders of our entire modern country.

I never said the project was 'mine', did I?

The reason I keep mentioning that New Netherland was a melting pot and included people from all over is because we have to treat all settlers equally and that means that everyone is sourced from church records with no assumptions. For example, there are New Netherland immigrants from Sweden. Their patronymic might have Janssen but they have the last name of Janszen because that's how it appears in records.

The LNAB rules for NNS apply only to persons born in the New Netherlands, I suppose. For those born in the Netherlands, the rules of Dutch_roots apply to the LNAB, even though they have been emigrated.

Thats clear to Me, Thanks for the explanation.
I don't know how that came from what I said but I disagree with the LNAB of New Netherland immigrant profiles being changed to "father's name + s". That I disagree is the reason this discussion began.

These are the settlers, our progenitors and the most important people to the New Netherland Settlers project.
I agree with you. You can not assume that a patronym is formed by just putting an s behind the father's first name. How the patronym was, should be evidenced, for example, by a marriage certificate. Certainly these basic profiles need to be discussed before determining an LNAB. For us Dutch, it is relatively simple in relation to the NNS Project that has to do with immigrants from many different countries, each with their own name system. Good luck with it and much respect.
We do agree there, Joop! And thank you.
+3 votes

:) So there is an agreement now right? Thank you Carrie and Bea! 


First: Use us!!!!!!!!!!! We have a great team with a lot of experience!!!!!!! USE U S !! :) We re happy to help! 

Carrie I know it wasn t about an e or a t. But about policy. I do not mind about how names are spelled as they are spelled variously. Referents spelled as they thought it was right. After a few years a new referent came in and spelled things differently. But WIKITREE askes a L N A B!!! And I will keep to that forever untill they ask a LN @ Singing or @marriage or @death. If I do not have a LNAB I will use the next name used in time. That can be a signature................ BUT IF I HAVE A NAME AT THE BIRTH I NEED TO USE THAT., even if I don t think it is right spelled and there are many reasons why we do that this way after longer discussion then here now. 

I did mind you doubt the patronym as you never saw it before. I do see patronyms every day I ve never seen before. I do see first names of Dutch I ve never seen. So that means I will patronyms I ve never seen before. 

I am sorry I just caused this discussion and on the other half I am not sorry. I wasn t even aware there was a problem. I hope you take that as it is. We need to agree and cooperate on how to handle again. Leaders worked on agreements for years to make it work. I think many have roots at the Netherlands. And for those that have roots here,  leaders made rules and agreements  besides WikiTree or within WikiTree policy. Many people worked hard, spending hours, to get things straight on profiles that were having info that was not fitting. I think that was what this is about. 

I just hope........ that those born at the Netherlands, where ever they went will have their LN at Birth. :) Those born elsewhere are out of my expertise. I will always follow the rules at that. 

I think you ve seen me working carefully at the Van Der Werken.......... Trying to follow the NNS way I do not know. But best  way to learn is to just step in and fall into traps or on your nose as we Dutch say and tiptoeing slowly Finding one source. And one source is never enough. But one is better than nothing........ Knowing a Van Der Werken was spelled here at the Netherland as "van der Werken" but I will not change that! I know that it worked that way.But unless I have prove they were born here I will. 3:)

I am so happy you and Bea solved/worked out  things!! Profiles should have the LNAB. Anyway. :D  I am froozen to that. 

I know...... I have profiles and the LNAB do not compare to their families, signatures, and would love to change the name as signed at marriage documents. But bless WikiTree we have a box for Current Last Name and Other Last Names. 

Again patronyms are not always sourceable. Yes sometimes we see them at marriage docs. But as long if we have no last names............ and again we had not for a long time. Children named after grandparents as it was costume, just keeping them apart by their patronymic. (Grandparent having  four children, first born of their children would have first name of paternal grandfather, next child paternal grandmother, third maternal grandfather, fourth maternal grandmother. Ending up whit at least 4 children with same name after grandfather and 4 with same name as grandmorther at paternal side) They just needed them to keep them apart not knowing what a last name was so they were used to keep them apart and tg we have them as we need them to be used to work back in time.   

I saw your post of ...... hmm can t  find it back so fast ........ that fine female genealogist helping online. She is doing great things. Read some before in time at here site. Most important thing I recall was people adding "Holland" to place of birth ending up in Noord-Brabant or so, as there is a village named Holland,:D Our Country is named The Netherlands. But in former times a part of the Netherlands WAS called Holland (the West Part). 

But saying most of the Dutch had a Last Name is overdone. I think it is the other way around before 1811. We bless Napoleon for forcing our ancestries to take a last name. As said before....... yes some families had a last name. But in most cases only the Royals, the Noble and Notorious had one. Most of them not having roots at the Netherlands......... Forced to flee for religion reasons (what s new?)....... And went everywhere at Europe but also many to Amsterdam. 

Okay ....... back to rules now.......... I hardly do anything on PPP-ed profiles of the NNS. But if I think - let s just imagen -- a last name is wrong- (I would never change it!!) I have to start a G2G discussion right? That is very WikiTree-erish.


Carrie I see many NNS profiles coming by with no good sources. Use the Dutch Roots to get that solved. I know it s hard sometimes. Just please, think we have more expertise, we do. Here. Not at the USA. YOU DO! Use us! :)  We re just happy to put in our best knowledge. 


Thank you again, and bowing to the hard days. 




Phillip you can close this on my behalf.............. mabye you should wait a few days for those that needs a little time. I needed a few hours......... :) 

by Astrid Spaargaren G2G6 Pilot (243k points)
edited by Astrid Spaargaren
+5 votes

Hi Everyone,

I've been following this thread and it's nice to see so many people so passionate about their about their families. At the same time, it's disappointing to see many of the comments I've seen here. Remember to keep things respectful on WikiTree, and if you're ever feeling upset, walk away and calm down before answering.

Now that said, if any of you are still feeling upset about this conversation, please take a break! Step back from the conversation, from G2G, from WikiTree, and cool off just a bit. Things are far easier to understand, points of view easier to grasp and sympathize with when we're at our best, not when we're already on the defensive.

Carrie and Bea asked me to step in and help to settle things. Honestly, I think they've worked it out pretty well already. Both of them are amazing Leaders. I love being able to collaborate and help them with their projects. Both the Dutch Roots Project and the New Netherland Settlers Projects are also fantastic. WikiTree has far improved after NNS started sorting out the hairy messes from New Netherland and Dutch Roots started working on sourcing and improving the deeper ancestors of those families. It makes sense that they would have a lot of overlap. 

Carrie pointed out a very important point-that we cannot assume surnames based on patronymics. They may be the norm for the Netherlands for that era, but there are plenty of exceptions. Those exceptions are what make creating a guideline like this difficult and important. 

Carrie and Bea have extracted from this conversation the best approach we can hope for based on what tools WikiTree has and what we can do with people so long gone. Here's the guideline, in order for the two projects to be able to work together on overlapping profiles:

New Netherland Settlers Project will keep doing what it has been doing for New Netherland Settlers. This includes:

* Using the last name as it is first written in church records for LNAB, whether patronymic or family name, exactly as written, unless there is something blatantly wrong with the name that first appears in records. (It happens). If there is a patronymic in addition to the surname (like Carrie's Pieter Quackenbosch) that would be added to the first name field (which preserves the patronymic for all intents and purposes). 

* If a baptism record is discovered for a settler born in the Netherlands under a patronymic system, a g2g gets started that both NNS and Dutch Roots can participate in to discuss and explain what the suggested patronymic for a LNAB would be, hoping we can get most interested parties to understand and agree before changes are made. This will help with mistaken identities or disproven records as well. 

* If there is any question, any disagreement about what the LNAB should be, it needs to be discussed by both projects on G2G. Sources will dictate what name is agreed upon. A patronymic may be the best route, it may not be. But respectful discussion needs to be what decides it. 

There has been a lot of aggressive dialogue here that could have been avoided by walking away and calming down before responding. At this point, let's leave this specific discussion of van Renssalaer for at least a week to cool down, then come back to it with fresh eyes and understanding of the NNS guidelines.

by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (469k points)

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